Gadget Guide

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nginx/1.14.0 (Ubuntu) Baffled by Tokyo’s maze of alleys, lack of English signage and haphazard street numbering? Then here’s some good news: in a trial program lasting until the end of March, the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport is loaning visitors PDAs designed to make life easier. There are English, Mandarin and Korean versions of the device, each featuring a voice translator, free local calls, unlimited Internet access and sightseeing information.

“Many overseas tourists are in trouble with verbal communications in Japan, and public transportation is overly complicated,” says ministry spokesman Asao Toba. “Tourists would prefer having an all-in-one device rather than books, maps and mobile phones.” The gadget could be a real boon if something gets lost in translation — like the location of that elusive Roppongi nightclub or Tsukiji sushi house. To sign up for the trial, apply online at You then collect your PDA upon arrival at Narita.

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